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About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 17, 1897)
THE : HESPERIAN
The following is simply one undergraduate's
opinion of some sketches from Harvard life
which he has been asked to review and is. of
course submitted to the courtesy of the reader.
Charles Macomb Flandrau, in one modest
sentence, dedicates Harvard Episodes in this
manner: "Dear W. A. I have written about
a very little corner of a very great place: but
one that we knew very well and together."
That which most urges this tast5 little
volume to the reader's attention is the undis
pu table fact that the author has attempted
nothing but which he thoroughly knows and
Flandrau has, in these sketches, studied
his student-subjects with the instinct of an
embryologist. His results rather impress one
that college life, at its best, is a life in em
byro: yet a life which, stripped of a harmless
artificiality, rings true.
There is something drilling through these
Eii nit's which may be classified in the au
thor own words, "The stimulative spirit
that so triumphantly inhibits Harvard from
becoming a mere place of learning." From
the glimmer of Harvard life we see through
Flandrau's cj'es, we can know to some extent
the animus which gives a Harvard jnan the
surely of knowing that the Harvard Spirit
lives and will thrive without being nursed on
enthusiasm of the tin horn and lung-stretching
quality. We are made to feel, though,
that the tin horns are noi lacking, if oecas
The omnipresent sense of self-acquired Ego
which Flandrau's undergrad nates show is
sublime in its calfish honesty; and one almost
doubts if it could flourish in a college atmos
phere less than two hundred 3'ears old.
From seven bold-stroked sketches, two
stand forth and refuse to be forgotten, , while
a third boars you along "pleasant paths of
frivolity" and makes you wish the leaves of
the.book had been cut when you picked it up.
Wolcott the Magnificent and Wellington
alrnpst merge into choice short stories; and
Wlif.; Class Day Idyl gives us a most refresh
ing picture of a badgered senior in the clutches
of an ecstatic college widow.
Sears Wolcott The Magnificent, is a bear,
9 boor, or a lion as the mood suits him. He
is magnificent in strong action, more so in re
pose, but simply brutal at all other times.
Wolcott sees starving McGaw through the
financial difficulties of his college course, and
some highly entertaining complications arc
woven by McGaw's ignorance of the source of
the welcome dollars, although ho has been
praying fervently for the soul of the man who
pulled him out of his poverty-hole.
Wolcott would never have given McGaw a
dollar if ho had not been coaxed into the
game by Haydoek, much as an engineer
coaxes speed from a locomotive.
Haydoek is the one purposeful gentleman
among all the men. Anything from an un
known dog to a football hero or a prize orator
could bring his troubles to Haydoek; yet to
use a word of his, he does not "drool" over
the things he cares the most for.
In the story of Wellington, the boy who
died unknown to his class mates, Haydoek is
supreme and the incidents arising from taking
his mother to the Memorial gives some very
pretty effects. There is some very delicate
workmanship in Wellington, and a pathos
that is beautiful.
To sum up, I would say the book is well
worth reading, if for no other reason than to
meet Wolcott The Magnificent and to lis
ten to Haydoek talk to his mother in Well
ington. The style of the writer is clean, with but
few tricks. He gives you the usual clouds
of tobacco smoke and meerschaum pipes,
mixed with cigarettes, supposed by some to
be artistically necessary to the Yale and Har
vard man who is in good form.
He gives you, also, a few vivid pictures of
sporty freshman who get drunk with great
At the worst, however, his Harvard men
are never anything more disagreeable than
naughty boys; and they are usually clean and
Even most of those who are damned into
the class of the hopelessly mediocre are clean
fellows who will some day be clean men. t
We feel when we have fin ished the book,
that it is distinctly a Yankee production.'1
J. A. Sahoent.
"Harvard Epinodw.by Charles Macomb Flandnm,
Vvcn .'iTt. Cope1tttir& Day, PubHabora, Botjtou,
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